Cave Of Forgotten Dreams 3D

Featured In Issue 166, April 2012

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Warner Herzog's Cave Of Forgotten Dreams documents an exclusive expedition into the Chauvet Cave in France, home to the most ancient pictorial art ever discovered. The film provides a unique view of nearly inaccessible, pristine works dating back between 30,000 and 40,000 years ago—almost twice as old as any other known to exist. Herzog evokes wonder and curiosity as he explores the very beginning of human culture. (Gary Reber)

Special features include the featurettte "Ode To The Dawn Of Man" (HD 39:16) and the theatrical trailer.

The 1.78:1 1080p MVC picture displays an impressive sense of scale and magnitude. The miniature, non-professional 3-D system was designed by Kaspar Kallas, essentially gaffer-taped together. A later system deployed used professional HD cameras. This was necessary due to the restrictive conditions presented by the cave and thus, precision alignment issues would have to be addressed during post-production. As a result, this is very much a documentary product, with at times visible noise and hand-held unsteadiness. Low lighting comprises the visual, and clarity is inconsistent. At times the imagery is sharp and clear and reveals the intricate textures and painting on the rock walls. Still, the 3-D presentation is absolutely engaging because it exhibits a sense of realistic depth that provides a fascinating vision of the cave's passageways and the dimensional relationships of chambers and rock formations. Color fidelity is generally mediocre but serviceable. (Gary Reber)

The DTS-HD Master Audio™ 5.1-channel soundtrack is documentary stylized with a mixture of on-location scientists reacting to the cave experience and Werner Herzog's clearly intelligible sonorous voice narration. Ernst Reijseger's haunting score really lays a dreamlike musical foundation that perfectly supports the mysterious visuals. The score is played with a mix of floating voices, sensuous cellos, and flute sounds. The music is aggressively prominent throughout the soundfield. (Gary Reber)